29 January 1999

Aid to boost pig prices

FINISHED pig prices should enjoy a slight improvement in the coming weeks, as the EUs emergency aid programme to Russia gets under way.

Tenders for the first 30,000t are now open, with bids due in by next Friday (Feb 5). Most of this will come from the open market, with just 5000t being taken from private storage aid stocks.

In total, some 100,000t will be sent as food aid in the coming months. While this is still relatively little compared with the 300,000t the EU exported commercially to Russia last year, it should provide a useful psychological boost.

Supply pressure

"EU pigmeat production is still increasing and is expected to do so until the middle of the year," says Meat and Livestock Commission economist, Tony Fowler. "Any-thing that relieves the supply pressure should help." &#42